New year’s eve is often a time of reflection and even regret, as well as anticipation and hope for the year to come. But we can only live in the present, so as a great sage once said:
“Be not afraid for the future or regretful of the past, for the past was once the future, and the future will soon be the present, until it quickly becomes the past, again. In this way there is no past, present or future. Or something.”
Wise words indeed and ones we can all easily choose to ignore.
We lost many wonderful people in 2016, including some personal heroes like David Bowie. I suspect we also lost a bit of faith in human nature, with the UK’s Brexit debacle and the US presidential election demonstrating once again how the masses can be manipulated by ruthless sociopaths and morally bankrupt media organisations to vote against their own best interests. We now live in a post-truth world we are told, although I’m not sure if that is true or not.
“I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now..”
So sang Freddie Mercury in the Queen hit “I want it all”. And from what I heard, he probably got a lot more than most of us.
Of course we all want stuff. Some of us want fancy stuff – our own pyramid, a gold yacht or a helicopter made of chocolate.
Some of us want simpler and more meaningful stuff – good relationships, inner peace and a sense of purpose (or, for confused dolphins, a sense of porpoise?).
And of course some of us just want another bag of popcorn and the return of Game of Thrones / The Walking Dead.
I imagine if you were a criminal in a chain-gang on the run, the thing you’d want most would be some good solid bolt-cutters and a place to lie low. But few of us will experience that situation – although, incredibly, chain-gangs have been reintroduced into some US prisons recently. Most of us have some degree of freedom to go where we please, and make our own choices, within reason.
Once again It’s that time when folks everywhere gather together to celebrate the start of a new year with alcohol and explosives, the perfect match.
There are many strange and interesting customs, traditions and superstitions associated with this event. Some don lucky underwear to see in the new year (South America) others dress up as bears (Romania) or throw their old household items out of the window to make room for new stuff (Parts of Italy and South Africa).
In Denmark folks dutifully listen to the Queen’s speech on TV, then later watch an old black and white comedy skit from the UK – Dinner for one. This ancient piece of booze-related slapstick features just two characters – a posh lady and her butler – and shows that the Danes and indeed others in parts of Scandinavia and Germany, love nothing more that the collision of upper class formality and extreme drunkenness.